For three years now, the movie industry have been living in a state of panic. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced theaters to shut down and more and more movies started forgoing theatrical exhibition or only stayed in theaters for a few weeks, many wondered if it was the beginning of the end for theaters.
But then came Spider Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar: The Way of Water, three movies that had record-breaking runs in theaters, and suddenly theaters seemed to have some life left in them. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if we can safely say that moviegoing is all the way back in 2023.
See, the box office is on a bit of a hot streak: February saw modest successes in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin and the Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno team-up, 80 for Brady. But March has seen genuinely strong returns with Creed III and Scream VI. First, Creed III opened with $58 million, which represented the biggest opening for a sports movie… ever. Then, just one week later, Scream VI opened with $44 million, representing the best opening weekend for any Scream entry, while Creed III racked up another $27 million. Record-breaking March returns is nothing to sniff at, especially since April is set to see the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, May, a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie and the remake of The Little Mermaid. Later this year, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie are set to open simultaneously on July 21, which promises to be another booming weekend at the box office.
So maybe, just maybe, theater companies and owners can begin to sleep a little easier. Moviegoing does not seem to be dead, and 2023 could end up being a banner year.
I’m Evan Rook.